Lamar Street construction ongoing, I-20 bridge repairs near completion

The widening of Lamar Street (Highway 70) — which began in September 2013 — will continue through the spring of 2015, but the portion of the road which runs in front of Sweetwater Middle School is slated to be finished by Aug. 25, the first day of school.While signal work is ongoing, the gutter work is done and the replacing of sidewalk and ramps flanking the street are in progress, according to Mary Belle Turner, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)."As the summer comes to an end and a new school year is upon us, TxDOT wanted to ensure that this project didn't interfere with traffic to and from the nearby school," Turner said. "We are confident that the phase of the project which would have the largest impact on school traffic, as well as all traffic in that area, will be complete in late August before school starts."Repair to the Interstate 20 overpass bridge and the lane closures required to accommodate them is expected to wrap up by Thursday. Until then, westbound lanes are off limits between exits 246 and 247.Turner said the bridge was closed temporarily for routine repairs and upgrades."TxDOT evaluates its bridges each year for signs of wear and tear," she explained."Based on the finding of these evaluations," Turner continued, "it's determined which, if any, bridges need repair or maintenance. The work is then scheduled according to the level of repair or maintenance needed. Of course, if it's determined between evaluations that a bridge needs attention, we will address accordingly and make any necessary repairs."Safety, Turner said, is always the number one priority when evaluating road and bridge conditions. "These projects in Sweetwater and the surrounding areas are helping us continue to provide safe roadways to drivers in the region," she added.